Have you ever thought how banks view the window cleaning industry?

It is part of a banks job to assess different industries in order to gauge viability, investment and loaning potential to individual sectors.

Here – we take a look at Santander and how they view the window cleaning sector.

Santander’s view on our industry:

What has been happening in the window cleaning sector

Demand for window cleaning services has grown over the last twenty years or so for a variety of reasons:

  • modern building styles use large areas of glass and other specialist cladding and finishes which has boosted demand for window cleaners, particularly those able to work at height
  • the appearance of business premises of all types has become increasingly important, so regular window cleaning is essential
  • domestic householders have less and less time to devote to window cleaning
  • there are more elderly people in the population, who need help with window and other cleaning tasks

However the industry has remained very fragmented, with many small businesses, often operating from home. Competition has kept rates low and, as this is a very labour-intensive industry, staff wages also have remained low. This has led to problems recruiting and retaining able employees.

Recent years have seen the industry attempting to improve standards and raise the status of the window cleaning industry through education and training for employees. Because much of the window cleaner’s work is potentially dangerous there have been several initiatives in recent years aimed at reducing falls and raising the industry’s awareness of the need to carry out risk assessments under the Work at Height Regulations. New technology such as telescopic pole systems have reduced the need to work at height, although because this type of equipment is expensive it is generally used by larger window cleaning firms. Larger firms may also have introduced a range of other services for customers such as general cleaning or gardening services.

Although the window cleaning market as a whole is forecast to grow, the current downturn in the economy is likely to affect demand as business customers may close down or reduce the amount they spend on window cleaning services. Domestic customers may lengthen the window cleaning cycle to save money, or decide to clean their windows themselves. During periods of recession competition always increases for window cleaners because there are many more unemployed people looking to earn money. The window cleaning business is easy to start up in because the cost of the equipment needed is quite low.

You will have to decide whether:

  • there is sufficient demand in your area to support your proposed business
  • you will be able to compete successfully against established window cleaning firms
  • you will be able to weather the current downturn in the economy, which would mean less work and more competition

Keeping up to date with developments

Joining a trade association is an excellent way of keeping up with developments in your industry. The interests of the window cleaning sector are represented by the Federation of Window Cleaners (FWC). Contact the Federation at Summerfield House, Harrogate Road, Reddish, Stockport SK5 6HQ. Window Talk, the journal of the FWC, is published quarterly. The Cleaning and Support Services Association (CSSA) represents all sectors of the cleaning industry.

The British Cleaning Council represents the UK cleaning industry as a whole, and organises national exhibitions and awards. It promotes the Clean Britain Awards.

The British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) is not a trade association, but an independent body with members from all areas of the cleaning industry. Contact BICSc at 9 Premier Court, Boarden Close, Moulton Park, Northampton NN3 6LF or visit the BICSc website for more information.

Subscribing to a trade journal, such as WCM, is another good way of keeping up to date with the latest industry developments.

“…all right , I added the last sentence in lol, but its a true sentence.”